Star of Bethlehem


You will see the logo of the Wildlife Group on noticeboards, leaflets, posters and social media. But what does it represent and why? The 6-petalled flower is Spiked Star of Bethlehem, also known as Bath Asparagus. It is related to garden asparagus and used to be eaten. More common in the Bath area there are records of it being for sale in greengrocers up to the 1970s – elsewhere it is localised from Wiltshire up to Huntingdonshire. Some say it was introduced by the Romans, hence being common around Bath. So why the link with Wenvoe? It is well-established growing in a hedgerow near Greave Farm and this is probably its main, if not only, site in Wales. Whilst isolated records do appear elsewhere these may be garden escapes but the Wenvoe plants were first recorded in the 1990s and are spread over 100 metres of hedgerow. It is a mystery how and why they should have become established here but there are many plants, the quick count for 2018 showing up around 20 spikes. It is also known as French Asparagus, Prussian Asparagus and Pyrenean Star of Bethlehem.